Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-nr4z6 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-28T14:13:12.373Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

17 - Putting Up Resistance: Maternal–Fetal Conflict over the Control of Uteroplacental Blood Flow

from PART I - CONTEXT

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2010

David Haig
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachussetts
William C. Aird
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Get access

Summary

All expenditures involve an opportunity cost. This is true in economics: Money spent on one activity is unavailable for other activities. But it is also true in evolutionary biology: Time, resources, or energy expended on one fitness-enhancing activity is unavailable for other fitness-enhancing activities. Organisms, like consumers, are faced by trade-offs. Beyond a certain level of reproductive expenditure on any particular offspring, a parent's resources are better allocated to other uses, say to fighting disease or laying down fat to survive the next winter. And these other uses, either directly or indirectly, translate into less investment in other offspring. An organism usually maximizes its expected number of surviving offspring, not by investing everything in a single offspring, but by spreading its reproductive effort across multiple offspring (1).

Trivers (2) recognized that the reproductive trade-off between continued investment in one particular offspring and investment in other offspring implied the existence of an evolutionary conflict between parents and offspring. A parent is equally related to all its offspring (a gene in the parent has a 50% chance of being transmitted to each offspring), but an offspring is more closely related to itself than to its sibs (a gene in an offspring is definitely present in that offspring but has only a probability of being present in the other offspring that compete for parental resources). Therefore, offspring will have evolved to extract more investment from parents than parents have evolved to supply. It should be emphasized that this is not a conflict in which every gain to the offspring is a loss to the parent, but one in which conflict arises over how much the parent supplies.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×